Hike launches 'Total, built by hike' to let users access services without data

Sonal Khetarpal   New Delhi     Last Updated: January 17, 2018  | 18:45 IST
Hike launches 'Total, built by hike' to let users access services without data

Hike has launched a new product called 'Total, built by hike' which lets users access essential services such as Messaging, News, Recharge and others without a data connection. The company is calling it a "refined version of Android". The rationale is to democratize information and services and enable the next billion people in India access them at competitive prices.

The Total operating system currently comes embedded in four phones - three are from Intex and one from Karbonn which are all priced at Rs 3000+.  The Intex devices with Total are Aqua Lions N1, Aqua Lions T1, Aqua Lions T1-Lite and the Karbonn device is A40 Indian.

They will be available from March 2018 across Airtel, Aircel and BSNL networks. Total has also tied up with these telecom operators which allow users to access richer media such as photos by buying Sachet Data packs starting from Re 1 to lower the cost of access.

On the launch Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO, Hike said, "Our goal is to bring India online and online means data so we've also made it extremely simple to buy data packs right contextually inside the OS itself. We've worked closely with telcos on special data packs for these phones starting as low as Re 1 to give people a taste of what it feels like."

The system can be signed in through a single login using the phone number for all the services that are available for free on Total. These services are Messaging, News, Horoscopes, Cricket Scores, Recharge, Rail Info. All of them are built to be less than 1 MB to ensure ensuring a lightweight footprint on the device.

These services that can be accessed without Data use a proprietary technology called UTP which is essentially a supercharged USSD protocol. Developed in-house, this patented technology does the heavy lifting of encrypting, compressing and transmitting data. "We did smart compression for better speeds, made transmission more reliable and accurate and did special encoding to make USSD secure and then brought a smartphone experience to USSD," says Mittal.

 The first product by Hike was its messaging app Hike Messenger launched in 2012. In August 2016, Hike raised its fourth round of funding of USD 175 million led by Tencent and Foxconn at a valuation of USD 1.4 billion. Other investors in Hike include Tiger Global, Softbank and Bharti.

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